Confessions of a Bad Missionary II

Story time.  I’ve experienced A LOT of shame this week for not being a good enough Christian, a good enough intercultualist (whatever that means), or a good enough student. I think I’m experiencing culture shock, partly because I’ve become so tired of trying to fit in with other cultures that I’ve stopped responding to certain aspects of Guatemala. And because of all this, I have spent a lot of time pouting. Sitting outside the house, inside the house, always in corners, pouting.

But today we had a devotional about the Prodigal Son. Though I think parables are my favorite part of the Gospels, I wasn’t particularly engaged. But I’m trying to make a point of listening to God so I shot up a quick prayer that went something like this, “Sorry I’m a butt. Please speak to me. Amen” And glory to God, He did speak.

I have spent my entire life in the church. I grew up in the shadow of my Dad, who was a pastor and was subject to the rules and structure of the “Christian” life. I never left the church, I never ACTUALLY rebelled outwardly. But that’s just the thing.

Both sons rebelled.

The prodigal son rebelled because he left his father and abused his love.

The older brother rebelled because he stayed with his father and resented his love.

Both ran from the love that was offered freely to them. I have done that so often in my life. I may have never chosen to walk away from the church. But I know without a doubt that I have walked away from the salvation of others resenting the grace they seem to experience. I’ve spent my entire life trying so hard to find the grace that seemed so easy for non-Christians to find. And the reason I haven’t found it is because I’m standing outside my Father’s house, pouting.

Luke 15 says that the father came out, seeking his older son.  He pleaded with him to join the party, to accept his brother again and to share in his wealth. Here I stand, as the Father pleads with me to come and accept the same grace that He extends to the rebellious, because it has ALWAYS been mine. His grace doesn’t change regardless of what choices I’ve made, whether to leave him or not. It stays the same. So here I am, pouting because I think that God hasn’t given me something, when in reality, it was always mine.

Anyways, I am still having doubts about my competence to be in this country and I will always be searching for more grace (aren’t we all?), but maybe its time to stop pouting and come in and celebrate the love of my Father.

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